Joseph Pilates had a specific goal in mind when he developed the first Pilates workout routine. His focus was on the improvement of balance, flexibility, and core strength. Improving these areas would help improve the lives of the injured patients who used Pilates as a form of gentle exercise and rehabilitation. Today, Pilates is done for a lot of different reasons, but those same core benefits are still obtainable.
Pilates is a regular exercise technique for all sorts of people. It’s commonly used by athletes, seniors, dancers, and people who are undergoing physical rehab. Unlike yoga, you don’t need to tackle the most extreme and advanced poses in the world to experience the true benefits of Pilates. You can benefit from a simple step by step Pilates workout using only the most basic of moves.
Begin With “The Hundred”
Whether this is your first Pilates workout or your one-hundredth, “the hundred” is still one of the first exercises that you will start with. If you were to ever take a Pilates class, then you would find yourself doing this exercise in almost every class. It’s simple, basic, fundamental, and extremely effective.
The hundred could be viewed as both an exercise and a warm-up. It can improve strength and balance by itself, yet it also works to warm up the body for slightly more complicated poses. Your motions and your breath must fully coordinate to perform this move properly. A trait that is required for nearly all Pilates exercises. The hundred is also a move that is easy to modify. There are a lot of variations with increasing intensity.
How To Do “The Hundred”
To begin, you must lie flat on your back. Your legs need to be bent in the tabletop position. This is a common starting position for many Pilates exercises. The knees are bent at an angle so that the thighs are perpendicular to the mat or floor and the shins are parallel to the mat or floor. Your inner thighs are active and the legs are squeezed very gently. Inhale as this pose is assumed.
Next, you must exhale and begin movement into the second motion. Raise your head while holding the chin downward. This will require the use of abdominal muscles and the spine should lift slightly off of the floor. Only curl the spine until the base of the shoulder blades is coming off of the floor. Keep your eyes focused on your lower abdomen and inhale again.
Exhale once more and pull slightly harder with the abdomen. While doing this you should extend both of your arms and both of your legs. Raising the legs higher is actually slightly easier while holding them at a smaller angle is more difficult. You can hold the legs as low to the ground as possible without any shaking. Keep your arms extending straight and parallel with the floor, but a few inches above the mat.
Hold this position while taking a few deep breaths. With each breath, you should move the arms up and down. Repeat this for ten cycles and then relax before performing again.
This step by step Pilates workout is a great way to start any Pilates routine. From the hundred, you can move to any of the more advanced poses with ease.